MYKOPLUS MAKES SOIL HEALTHIER AND INCREASES YIELD
RECENT STUDIES show that live or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms enhance growth and yield of crops, and help remediate soil fertility problems. These microorganisms are prepared as microbial inoculants or biofertilizers. MykoPlus is a multi-strain and multi-species biofertilizer developed by Dr. Jocelyn T. Zarate and her team from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. In addition to mycorrhizal fungi, MykoPlus also contains beneficial bacteria that include nitrogen fixers, phosphorous solubilizers, and growth hormone secretors.
In a two-season farmer’s field trial in Isabela and Cagayan, results showed that coating corn seeds with the powdered MykoPlus inoculant prior to sowing enhanced the crop’s ability to assimilate nutrients.
A 30% savings on the use of recommended chemical fertilizer was also realized. Yield was higher or comparable to crops receiving 100% recommended rate of chemical fertilizer alone.
Soil analysis after the cropping season showed that soil pH for fields that used MykoPlus was not as low as that of crops that did not use it. Higher residual nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil was also noted.
In Manaoag, Pangasinan, farmers using MykoPlus observed
in rootcrops, abaca, coconut, fruits and vegetables, rice and corn, forestry, environment, and fisheries, among others.
Several knowledge products were already generated. Research technologies which include new varieties of rootcrops, coconuts, and corn, food products and bi-products, research techniques and protocols, and other basic information have been submitted for protection/patenting.
Many of these have been presented in scientific discussions, published in refereed journals, and disseminated through techno demo, training, and IEC materials.
THE RECIPIENT OF THE TANGLAW AWARD
Isabela State University (ISU), located in Echague, Isabela, is this year’s Tanglaw awardee. ISU is the host or base agency of three prominent regional centers: the Higher Education Regional Research Center (HERRC) under the CHED, the Cagayan Valley Agricultural and Aquatic Resources Research and Development (CVAARD) under the PCAARRD-DOST, and the Cagayan Valley Small Ruminants Research Center (CVSRRC).
Having been chosen as a base agency is a recognition of ISU’s superiority and dominance among HEIs in the region in terms of capability in research management and scientific undertakings. The university’s strong R&D capability can be seen in the that their crops had enhanced rooting, taller shoots, greater yield, and better survival rates of the prolonged flooding brought about by typhoons. It was also found to be good for rice, sorghum, cassava, and vegetables. With rice, more filled grains were observed, leading to heavier grain yield.
The synergistic interaction of the mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria in MykoPlus brings about these good results. However, the most important effect of applying the biofertilizer is that it creates a diverse population of beneficial microbes. The continuous application of beneficial microbes such as those in MykoPlus brings back life to soils damaged by repeated and heavy application of chemical inputs.
Currently, the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) is funding the “MykoPlus technology promotion and demonstration trials for yellow corn and eggplant,” a component project of the program, “Development and promotion of new and enhanced biofertilizers, biostimulants, and biopesticides for increased crop productivity.” (Butch S. Pagcaliwagan, DOSTPCAARRD S&T Media Service)
institutionalization of 10 R&D centers which from January to June in 2014, generated scientific knowledge and innovations that are locally responsive and globally competitive.
Presently, the ISU is the seat of at least 12 R&D centers and laboratories. More than 40 technologies/significant information were generated by the university; over 20 utility models and trademarks were granted, while over 10 pending patents were applied for.
The university implements an average of 18 projects/programs per year. ISU has received 104 major and minor national awards and three institutional awards.
THE PCAARRD’S R&D OUTPUT
Following the event was an exhibit at the same venue which featured the R&D outputs of the PCAARRD’s funded research activities, including science and technology interventions in value-adding initiatives.
According to Dr. Ebora, the event manifests the PCAARRD’s stance in maximizing science and technology potentials to attain sustained growth in the AANR sectors. It makes available highend sciences and technologies, creates impact on the lives of its stakeholders, produces a capable R&D workforce, and creates a healthy research and development environment.